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Superintendent Gains Insight Through Student-Directed Discussion

Superintendent Gains Insight Through Student-Directed Discussion photo
To gain important insight on building culture and student concerns, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham and various other members of the administration continuously participate in a student-directed roundtable at each building throughout the district.

As part of the periodic visits, student representatives of varying school activity levels are selected by each building principal to meet with Dr. Graham to discuss the questions and concerns of their peers. The roundtable discussions provide students across all grade levels the opportunity to have their voice heard by administrative members.  

Among the numerous topics highlighted during each discussion were student engagement in class, safety and security, school culture, and extra- and cocurricular activities. 


William Gavin to Attend Washington Journalism and Media Conference

William Gavin to Attend Washington Journalism and Media Conference photo
Sachem High School East junior William Gavin has been selected as a national youth correspondent and invited to attend the prestigious Washington Journalism and Media Conference held at George Mason University this summer. 

As part of the conference curriculum, William will participate in hands-on learning led by industry-leading professionals from a number of media backgrounds. The participating youth correspondents will learn through decision-making simulations that prompt students to face similar creative, practical and ethical pressures they will encounter in media and journalism careers. In addition, the student-participants will enjoy expert insight from multiple guest speakers during the weeklong conference. 

William is enrolled in a number of Advanced Placement classes, including composition, biology and U.S. history. Complementing William’s enrollment in multiple challenging courses is a robust cocurricular résumé, as he is active in the Chess Club and the Diversity Club. He plans to pursue further journalism in college, with a focus on political journalism. 

“I look forward to meeting many well-known journalists during the conference,” William said. “I am excited for the experience to learn from the professionals.”

Project Happiness Comes to Sachem High School East

Project Happiness Comes to Sachem High School East photo
Sachem High School East has been chosen by Project Happiness as one of 10 high schools from across the United States to receive a scholarship to establish a Happiness Club supported by the “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” corporate social responsibility platform. High School East was named an Official Happiness School based on its enthusiasm, creativity and commitment. 

Project Happiness is a nonprofit organization based in Cupertino, California. Founded in 2009, Project Happiness aims to teach people how to develop happiness strategies for life. The goal of the program is to reach 5.5 million youth with learnable happiness skills over the next five years, and this is just a first step. As a pilot program, the club will lay the foundations for a positive environment for students who experience great amounts of stress during this time in their lives, as well as create a ripple in the school community. 

“We were thrilled to learn Sachem East was chosen to be one of 10 schools in the country to participate in this Project Happiness movement,” Principal Louis Antonetti said. “This program will allow us to adopt a mindfulness program that will help students cope with stress while developing skills for self-reflection.”  

The Happiness Club at High School East will use activities and strategies from the Project Happiness handbook and curriculum to support students’ efforts to build happiness habits for life. The material has been used in over 120 countries and is science-based, drawing on aspects of positive psychology, neuroscience, mindfulness and social-emotional learning. 

The purpose of being an official Happiness School is to create a culture that supports people, rather than tears them down, and fosters an environment where authenticity and individual strengths are celebrated. Students will be encouraged to listen to their inner friend, rather than their inner critic, and develop emotional resilience along with grit.

As part of the initiative, High School East was visited by a Discovery Channel television crew to film “Discover Your Happy,” a program that will air on March 20 on Discovery Education. 

High School East Takes the Stage in ‘Sweeney Todd’

High School East Takes the Stage in ‘Sweeney Todd’ photo
High School East Takes the Stage in ‘Sweeney Todd’ photo 2
High School East Takes the Stage in ‘Sweeney Todd’ photo 3
Sachem High School East drama students took to the stage this March to perform “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. The remaining performances are scheduled for Fri., March 2 and Sat., March 3 in the Sachem High School East auditorium. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. 

The story tells the tale of a famed barber who returned to work above a struggling pie shop under an alias after being wrongly sentenced to life in prison. Working with the baker, Mrs. Lovett, the pair sought vengeance against the corrupt judge that sentenced Todd and end up traveling down a path with deadly consequences. 

The leading cast is composed of Colin Kwasnik as Sweeney Todd, Cecilia Antonelle as Mrs. Lovett, Ralf Jean-Francois as Judge Turpin, Jordan Dupre as Anthony Hope, Angelina Pagan as Johanna Barker, Cara Arbucci as Beggar Woman, Sam Krompinger as Adolfo Pirelli, Sophia Antonelle as Tobias Ragg and Nick Marrone as Beadle Bamford. The production includes multiple talented support staff and crew members that add to the seamless execution of the performance.  

“Before beginning this play, we all knew the high level of difficulty associated with achieving success during this production,” Drama Director Kenneth Dobbins said. “As always, with our vast array of talent, we have success. Congratulations to cast, crew, orchestra and all parents who helped us in reaching our dream.”

2018 National Merit Scholarship Finalists Announced

2018 National Merit Scholarship Finalists Announced photo
Sachem High School East senior Tharini Prakash and High School North senior Paige Mennici have been named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Tharini is president of the English Honor Society, treasurer of class government and a member of the Outdoors Club. She is enrolled in a plethora of Advanced Placement classes, including physics, economics, calculus, literature, environmental science and French. Tharini plans to pursue a degree in economics and politics at one of her top three school choices: Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania or Yale University. 

Paige has had perfect NYSSMA scores since eighth grade and was selected to the all-state chorus ensemble this year. She is the co-president of the Drama Club, vice president of the Music Honor Society and secretary of the National Honor Society. Paige plans to pursue a degree in music industry and song writing at The College of Saint Rose.

Approximately 15,000 students have been selected as finalists based on a number of rigorous academic requirements. The nationwide pool of finalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring from each state. 

Beginning in March and concluding in June, 7,500 finalists will be notified that they have been chosen to receive a Merit Scholarship.